Infographics and Data Visualization – A Better Way for Associations to Get the Message Through

The recent upswing of information graphics and data visualization is not a surprise anymore. More and more companies are using infographics to communicate their messages and reach target audiences.

In today’s busy world, nobody has the time to go over extensive publications or hard to read tables and graphs. With over 90% of the information we remember being visual, infographics are here to stay for a long time.

And yet, having a closer look at some of the communication tools European associations are using to reach their membership across Europe and EU officials, infographics are not so popular. Parts of the problem lies with the fact that European associations do not have a full picture of the benefits infographics bring to them and their members.

So what are the benefits for associations to use more infographics?

For a start, infographics allow representation of your raw data in a clear and simpler way. It gives you the opportunity to bring life to your old graphs and tables. More importantly, infographics tell stories which cannot easily be told using standard tools. Infographics put you in control of what message you want to send and how memorable it shall be. Your audience will not remember a bar chart but with the help of infographics they will remember what that bar chart was about.

Secondly, infographics combine interesting data with great design. You might be excited about the benefits of your or your members’ services or products but do not expect everyone else to share this. In fact, showing a graph will not be different. However, showing infographics loaded with solid data, attention to detail and beautiful design, will have a greater impact.

Thirdly, infographics show great consideration and professionalism for your audience. At the end of the day, we were all trained (most of us anyway!) to make graphs and charts. Creating infographics is much more than that. It requires good raw data, ability to have a story, create a concept and deliver an effective design. Your members, business partners and other stakeholders will appreciate going the extra mile for them.

Last but not least a few words of advice about infographics

We mentioned the benefits of infogaphics for your association and members and it is important that we close with a few words of advice.

1. Infographics are powerful marketing & communication tools. Poor raw data, misleading or unclear information will never deliver effective infographics.
2. For balanced infographics work with professionals both on content and design.
3. There are several infographics templates around the web free of use. It might be tempted to go for those but your infographics must be unique, customized to your needs and based on your identity.
4. Price: infographics are an investment. Effective infographics are memorable and are to be used along your whole communication & marketing channels.

What A Copywriter Can Tell You About Adding Infographics To Your Marketing Mix

You may hear the word “infographic” [information graphic] coming up more and more these days. What’s an infographic and why might you need one? I didn’t pay attention till I noticed an infographic on a popular blog. Soon I was seeing this infographic everywhere: it had gone viral!

What is an infographic?

An infographic is nothing more than a pictorial way to represent information or facts. A pie chart or bar chart with good labels would be an infographic.

Why are we seeing more idiographics these days?

People are getting more visual all the time. Some information is easier to communicate graphically rather than textually.

As a copywriter, I look at infographics as a way to communicate messages effectively and persuasively. For example, the information must be direct and relevant. An infographic with boring, useless information won’t do much.

Successful infographics are simple and purposeful. They use illustrations to make their points. Almost anything can be presented as an inforgraphic. However, I believe that great infographics present information that’s easier to grasp as a graphic.

For example, one infographic illustrates how to make 12 types of coffee drinks, with lines to show how much milk, coffee and foam to add. This infographic shares useful information that would be hard to communicate with just words.

On the other hand, a crowded graphic with a lot of words, with dark type on a white background, will be fighting itself. A crowded wordspace won’t be effective, whether it’s presented as a website or an infographic.

Keep your infographic easy to read. Avoid jamming a lot of info together and using white on black, colored type or confusing layouts. The idea is to draw readers into your info graphic and make the information accessible

How you can use infographics

Make sure the top part of your infographic can function as a standalone symbol that can be embedded in blogs and social media sites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

When you present your infographic, make sure to include code and permission so others can embed your infographic. The code is just straightforward HTML for a live clickable image. Include your name or logo. You don’t want to copyright: you want to go viral..

Where to use your infographic:

Add them to your blog posts, just like any other illustration. A powerful infographic can become a complete post in itself. Make sure you have permission to use the infographic.

Create an infographic for your brand and signature system.

Create an infographic to illustrate an interesting fact, with your company name prominently displayed. One company went viral with a map of Google.

Finally, grab your infographic from a low-end online marketing back. There’s no need to make a big investment until you’ve tested the waters. Your concept and information will be far more important than your decision to use an infographic, and not all information will be best served this way.

When you combine a strong message with a well-executed infogrpahic, you’ll have a powerful asset… and you just might see yourself all over the Internet.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Compelling Infographic

While relevant and regularly updated online content like blogs, articles, and press releases continue to be crucial components in optimizing your website, there are other highly effective forms of communication that draws in consumer attention to your business.

One of these forms is the infographic, which appeals to the ever-growing crowd of online browsers who connect to more visual methods of learning.

Short for “information graphic,” an infographic is defined as the visual representation of information. Visualization is a powerful tool-the millions spent on creating movie posters to market films is proof of that. But infographics are more than just posters with graphs on it. A well-crafted infographic should be able to convey a complex concept in an easily understood, visually appealing way.

Decidedly, there is a trick to designing a successful infographic, which is why it has become a career option. There are endless lists of what makes an infographic successful vs. just a poster with graphs, but here are a handful of do’s and don’ts that will help you with the basics of designing your own infographic.

DO tell a story. Like a good story, infographics should have clear beginning, middle, and end. Introduce the thesis, problem, or purpose of the infographic at the top, or beginning. Support your thesis with data-this is where well-designed charts and graphs come in. Then, end the infographic with a final conclusion.

DO communicate complex data simply and attractively. If a consumer is just as confused by your infographic as they would be by the list of data it is supposed to represent, then a visual isn’t doing its job. Think about your audience and develop a simple, yet creative way to convey the same information so that the consumer can digest it easier.

DO make social media sharing easy. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are valuable gateways into the next level of marketing. Designing infographics that can be easily shared through these sites is one of the best ways you can improve the online visibility of your company. So keep them simple and make them attractive-that is the best way to encourage sharing.

DO NOT tell when you can show instead. Writers are taught never to describe through exposition when you can illustrate through character dialogue. Similarly, in an infographic you should never tell when it can be displayed visually instead. That’s the purpose of an infographic after all, is it not?

DO NOT rely on typography too much. A common crutch designers rely on to make information stand out is using alternative typography. While different fonts can be great for highlighting certain data, overusing it can detract from the cohesiveness of the design.

DO NOT use every color you can think of. Rather than make your infographic look like a rainbow exploded on it, use color palettes that complement the message of the visual.

The best rule to follow when developing an infographic is to keep it simple. Successful visual designs take detailed and complicated data and present it in a form that is easily understood by consumers.

Furthermore, answer the questions of purpose, goal, and relevance before you develop an infographic for your website or client.

While there is plenty more that goes into developing a successful infographic, keeping these concepts in mind is a good start.

How to Create a Powerful Infographic When You Do Not Have a Designer

Infographics are a powerful way to visually communicate information, to share knowledge and convey a story. Infographics can easily communicate complex information in a clear and concise manner at a single glance. Infographics are typically put together by a designer who takes the elements that need to be communicated and then builds a graphic description of that information that instantly communicates the story behind the numbers in a creative and interesting visual manner. If you do not have the budget, desire, or time to involve a graphic designer in this creative visual storytelling process, there are seven important steps that can make anyone an infographics expert.

1. Collect accurate information

The first step required to prepare an infographic is to gather high quality source information from reliable sources. An infographic is only as good as its supporting information. Once this information has been obtained and verified, the infographic can be designed to effectively tell the story.

As part of the information gathering, one must know the subject matter area, target audience, communication objective, and message that one intends to deliver.

2. Select best tool for infographic construction

Finding the right tool for the job can sometimes be tricky. Developing sophisticated and effective infographics can require toolsthat may span many different products. Fortunately, the right software tool can provide you with everything you need to create polished diagrams that beautifully and accurately represent your story, no matter how complex it may be.

3. Structure infographic story

Research the collected information, and determine the key points of your message. Clearly label key points and organize information flow by defining the sequence of visual events in your storyline that form a single story arc.

A visual story should have three visually separated parts: beginning, middle, and end. The beginning attracts attention of one’s target audience and introduces the story. The middle holds the attention of audience and explains your story topic in detail. The ending contains conclusions and completes your visual story for the audience.

Use visuals to maximize the impact of your message and reduce the time it takes to explain your ideas and concepts. These visuals may include both information visualization and decorative graphic design elements such as charts, graphs, diagrams, schemes, maps, plans, clipart, pictograms, drawings, and photos.

Use a minimal amount of text to enhance the impact and transform your visuals into a solid self-contained infographic story.

4. Select relevant visuals to convey message

Determine how to arrange contents visually
To determine how to visually organize contents of your infographic story, you need to decide how the key point must be organized. For example: in a list, a grid, timeline, or calendar, on a geographic map or city plan, into a process diagram or flowchart, statistical analysis, as a hierarchy, a network, or as a cloud.

Optimize your infographics for output devices
Explore what output devices will be used by target audience to see your infographics. It may severely limit the size of your infographics and visuals used, especially in case of smartphones and tablets. For mobile devices, use space-saving graphic design elements.

On other hand, if you plan display your infographics onto a large displays or large printout, it is best to use vector graphics for high quality image scaling.

You have to take this into account when you select and layout the visuals.

Select graphic design elements
You should select graphic design elements for visualization that correspond with collected information for your story.

Each visualized piece of information should explain a single, easy to understand idea. Each graphic design element should communicate one message clearly.

Avoid repetitive visuals. Use different visuals and color labeling for different key points.

Use creative design elements to maximize the impact of your infographics. But remember, each of your visuals must be clear and should enhance your message.

To quickly and easily select clear and creative visuals for your infographics, use libraries of pre-designed vector graphic design elements.

5. Explain complex ideas simply

Main messages of key points and the overall narrative of the whole story must be clear in seconds for target audience.

Represent information graphically
Use:
images of story subjects as markers of visuals and text blocks.
images of well-known people, objects and things for quick recognition.
common graphical symbols and pictograms instead of words in data labels and legends.
pictoral charts instead of bar or line charts to better demonstrate quantitative data.
background image that indicate basic subject matter of your story.
short talking points in headlines and captions.
short talking points in the page title, headlines for key points, text blocks, and captions for visuals to quickly explain main messages of your visual story.
Be selective in the type you use
Use up to three fonts in your infographics to make your infographics easy to view and read.

Minimize scrolling
To keep your story easy to digest, try to limit document length and the number of content elements.

Be sure that each content element conveys one simple idea that is easy to understand at a glance.

Choose only the most essential content elements to explain the main message of your story.

If your document is still too long, try to use space-saving graphic elements and arrangement.

6. Show concrete information

If you present time-oriented data in your infographics, give the audience an impression of the newest information with the most modern design.

Label date and time
Clearly show the dates and times in your infographic document and make sure each content element presents actual data.

Refresh infographics as source information changes
To keep your infographic current, design it so that it is easy to refresh. so you can quickly change content elements when time-sensitive source information changes. The easiest way to quickly refresh data is by using auto-refreshing graphic elements.For example: auto-refreshing charts, graphic indicators for visual dashboards, or meteorological graphic indicators from weather informers.

Modern and event-driven design
For infographics that show dynamic time-sensitive information, use modern design in conjunction with events-related symbols and images to present a fresh and stylish ambiance.

7. Provide sharing

You create your infographics to present to target audience. To access your audience, you can use web and paper publishing, references on social networks, displays at public events and meetings, e-mail distribution, etc.

For example:

Publish your infographics on your website or blog. Add sharing features on your web page.
Publish your infographics to subject-specific e-magazines, websites, blogs and social networking groups where your target audience is concentrated.
Create account and subject-specific board on Pinterest.com, and submit your infographics.
Show your infographics on display boards at public events that the target audience is likely to visit.
Show your infographics at subject- specific meetings as a printed poster on a stand or as a presentation using a projector.
Proliferate your infographics using e-mail.
Announce your infographics via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
To easily share your infographics, create them using vector graphics software tools that allow you to save in file formats and have the capability to share through different distribution channels – web sites, blogs, social networks, email, printing in different sizes, presentations using a projector, showing on board displays.

On the web pages of your website or blog,where the infographics are published, add sharing features like, “Tweet”, “Pin it”, “Share”, or “Send via email” buttons to allow readers to announce and share your infographics on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, or via email.

Follow these 7 simple steps above to create actual, impressive, and convincing infographics that visually tell your complex story quickly and simply.